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John Oliver: Biography

John Oliver
1959 -
Region: British Columbia

John Oliver

John Oliver's “wonderfully creative music” (Fanfare) displays “a delicate yet often complex sense of beauty” (Musicworks). Winner of the Classical Composition of the Year Award at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards for his orchestral composition Forging Utopia, he has been praised for the breadth of his creative output, from orchestral and chamber music, to intercultural works, electroacoustic music, and opera. Oliver's work with diverse cultures during the past decade lead the Georgia Straight to conclude that his composition Eagle Flies to Mountain "deserves to become an intercultural standard." Throughout the diversity of his work, one hears music that engages and challenges a wide audience. John Oliver came to international attention early in his career, winning six composition prizes for chamber, orchestral, and electroacoustic music, including the Grand Prize at the 8th CBC National Young Composers' Competition. Commissions and performances flowed from the Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, CBC, Vancouver New Music, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Turning Point Ensemble, New Music Concerts, among others.

Oliver also performs as guitarist and electronic musician, appearing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Little Giant Chinese Orchestra (Taiwan), Borealis String Quartet, Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble, François Houle, and others. Oliver studied classical guitar with R. Jordan, G. Sakellariou & G. Biberian. In 2005, Oliver was honoured with a Portrait Concert of his electroacoustic music at the Akousma2 Festival presented by Réseaux des art médiatiques.

Oliver holds a doctorate from McGill University. His principal composition teachers were John Adams, Stephen Chatman, and Bruce Mather.


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